Janelle Monae, Stevie Wonder, Jazmine Sullivan Among Stars Focused on #JusticeForFlint
Last night, a cadre of stars descended upon the Whiting Auditorium in the city of Flint, Michigan to show love and support for the citizens who've been coping with the poisoned water that was allowed into their homes by the city's government for more than two years. Hosted by Hannibal Buress, #JusticeForFlint was organized by Creed director Ryan Coogler and Selma director Ava DuVernay to assist the victims of the crisis and they were able to bring along some famous friends.
Jasiri X, Vic Mensa, actor Jesse Williams, Royce Da 5'9 and singers Ledisi and Musiq Soulchild were also on-hand. Many of the notables on-hand directly spearheaded the formation of organization Blackout for Human Rights.
"Blackout for Human Rights is a collective of filmmakers, artists, activists, musicians, lawyers, tastemakers, religious leaders and concerned citizens who commit their energy and resources to immediately address the staggering level of human rights violations and injustices against fellow Americans throughout the United States," says the org's website.
Buress jokingly stated that "Water in Flint should be free forever," but he was also making a point about what the city owes to its citizens. And each of the participants addressed the crisis in their own way. Monae took the stage in a symbolic strait jacket. Ledisi reached back to the 60s for two powerful and timely covers: Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come" and Simon & Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Water."
Jazmine Sullivan reminded everyone that she's one of the most powerful soul singers around today, delivering rousing renditions of her hits "Bust Your Windows," "Forever Don't Last," and "Need U Bad."
"We stand with Flint ... this could have been any of us," she told viewers.
Community organizer Nayyirah Sharif introduced a Flint mother who revealed that the contaminated water caused her to lose her unborn twins and gave her other children lead poisoning. Sharif also brought out three Flint children: Brogan, Ian and Evan McEntire, who revealed that their school didn't tell students about the water crisis until two weeks ago, and has not shared any donated water bottles.
"They forced us to buy water from vending machines," said Brogan.
The performances and testimonies from citizens of Flint undoubtedly made for a powerful evening for anyone in attendance or viewing online. The legendary Stevie Wonder closed the show with a surprise performance.
Check out some of the tweets from #JusticeForFlint below.